Last Thursday saw Cricket NSW announce their 2020 'A Sport for All' awards with the Macleay Valley writing themselves into the history books.
The Macleay Valley Indoor Sports and Development Centre was recognised as Indoor Facility of the Year with the multi purpose facility competing against an estimated 30 other centres throughout the state.
Owner and director, Shannon-lee Mckiernan, said she was delighted when the awards were announced.
"It's lovely to receive the award, particularly in times like this," she said.
"It's great to be recognised for the work we do and our contribution to the community."
The Indoor Centre offers a range of sports when operating with Indoor Cricket having one of the highest participation levels.
The centre boasts a two-lane court facility and several squash courts designed to provide a whole range of services.
The programs run by Mckiernan and her team are what makes them stand out among other centres in the state.
"We offer a whole range of diverse programs with my team working hard to provide a range of services to people from all works of life and that's what our motto is - to offer opportunity to everyone no matter where you come from," she explained.
"We do work with a girls academy from Melville High School, it's a female indigenous program that uses sport for connection to build resilience and self-worth."
Along with the girls program, the Indoor Centre works with other schools and community groups to promote sport and ensure people are developing their social skills.
"We run programs for people who don't like sport like movement activities that provide tools to help engage into movement and sport in general," Mckiernan said.
"Not everyone is sport driven but people need to connect with others and develop their social skills, so we set up programs using sport to build those social skills and connection.
"It's not always sport but - we work with schools and other groups like respite care, and conduct quiet time activities to allow people to sit and draw as away of connecting and talking, giving them a safe space where they feel comfortable.
"It's extremely rewarding to see a young guy or girl who has difficulty connecting socially because they're perceived as different to come into an environment where they don't feel different and watch them grow and feel like they're a part of something - that has a significant impact on yourself."
On cricket night, the Indoor Centre usually sees around 120 people go through their doors whilst during the day if school programs are on there might be 100 school children coming through.
Some nights however there might be 20 to 30 people or no one with the centre placing a massive emphasis on catering for everyone.
"You have to cater for if four people want to come through and play squash or if 100 people turn up, it's not a monetary thing - it's providing opportunity for the community," Mckiernan said.
The award provides significant relief for Mckiernan and her team with the centre under forced closure since March due to COVID-19, with no foreseeable opening date.
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Unfortunately, the indoor sports industry comes under a niche market with sports played in confined spaces, therefore struggling to classify under the framework that outdoor sports come under.
"Outdoor sports are going to be given an easier path due to there ability to meet certain guidelines because the space is easier," she said.
"The indoor industry is an outlier so it's hard to find what framework we go under, we've used the criteria provided around space, social-distancing and how many people you can have as our main basis but there isn't really anything specific to an indoor centre.
"The biggest loss we've had is that connection with the community, because don't open an indoor centre for financial gain, you make friends and make a lifestyle and that's what's sustained us.
"The gain is around seeing community pride and that's been fantastic."
In July, if restrictions are lifted the centre will be hoping to host an all inclusive, all abilities sports day collaborating with NSW sport.